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10 Totally Veganized Holiday Starbucks Drinks

‘Tis the season of giving, so treat yourself to a festive beverage—minus the dairy.


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The official holiday season is upon us, we all have a busy few weeks ahead of us. What better way to fuel us through the merry mayhem than with good old-fashioned caffeine? With all the delicious, seasonal flavors at our fingertips, VegNews is here with your guide for how to enjoy holiday drinks at Starbucks … the vegan way.

All you have to remember is to substitute plant-based milk for dairy (Starbucks carries organic vanilla soy, single-origin Sumatran coconut, and almond), omit whipped cream, and stay away from most thick sauces as they generally contain dairy (this includes white chocolate mocha and caramel brulée. Water-based syrups like peppermint are vegan!). With that in mind, get ready for wintry warmth in a cup, courtesy of VegNews and your local Starbucks.

The Classics

1. Peppermint Mochas/Hot Chocolates
Bittersweet chocolate mocha* is combined with peppermint syrup, melted down with shots of freshly pulled espresso, then topped with steamed non-dairy milk before being garnished with creamy foam and a sprinkling of dairy-free dark chocolate curls. Order it as a Peppermint Hot Chocolate without the espresso for a caffeine-free, kid-friendly drink. 

2. Chestnut Praline Latte
The essence of caramelized chestnuts and subtle holiday spices flavor this fan-favorite beverage. Ask your barista for extra foam when they steam your milk so you can have a pillow of frothy lightness to hold the sprinkle of vegan spiced praline crumbles.

3. Cinnamon Dolce Latte
This year-round drink tastes extra sweet during the winter season, and you can thank the buttery cinnamon-spiced syrup mixed with steamed milk for that. Avoid the standard cinnamon dolce sprinkles (they contain dairy) and go for powdered cinnamon atop your velvety foam instead.

4. Irish Cream Cold Brew
This newly introduced beverage combines Starbucks’ signature cold brew with Irish Cream syrup, cold foam, and cocoa powder. Just be sure to ask your barista to use vegan milk in place of sweet cream to make the cold foam (soy works the best), and you’ve got a booze-free, but supremely tasty, new holiday classic.

5. Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino
Starbucks’ famous ice blended coffee beverages are huge during the summer months, but if chilly weather doesn’t deter you from a frosty sip, try this salty-sweet drink on for size. Bittersweet chocolate mocha plus a proprietary espresso roast serve as the base, then get upgraded with toffee nut syrup, whipped cream, and caramel sauce. Skip the whip and caramel sauce, and instead have your barista blend in a pump of dairy-free caramel syrup for that classic caramel flavor—and don’t forget the turbinado sugar-sea salt topping!

The Hacks

6. Veganized Caramel Brulée
Starbucks’ popular Caramel Brulée Latte, unfortunately, is made using a milk-infused sauce, making it unsuitable for vegans. There is, however, a workaround that tastes nearly identical. Just combine caramel and toffee nut syrups to your latte to achieve a tempting burnt-sugar flavor. And don’t forget the candied Caramel Brulée topping for extra sweetness and crunch.

7. Caramel Toffee Mocha
Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, a seasonal addition to Starbucks’ holiday menu is (womp, womp) not vegan. But don’t let dairy-drinkers have all the chocolaty, toasty fun this winter—a Café Mocha with toffee nut syrup and a touch of caramel syrup will do the trick.

8. Candy Cane Crème Frappuccino
Need a cool caffeine-free Christmas-inspired pick-me-up? Look no further than this creamy blended creation. All you need to do is order a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino and ask for peppermint syrup to be added.

9. Ferrero Rocher Hot Chocolate
You remember those chocolate-covered, hazelnutty treats of holidays past. This beverage—made by ordering a hot chocolate with hazelnut syrup and a dash of nutmeg—will satisfy your nutty nostalgia cravings.

10. Veganized Caramel Apple Spice
Forgo the caffeine with this extra-sweet drink. Ask for steamed apple juice and cinnamon dolce syrup, add one pump caramel syrup (not the butter-laden sauce), and if you want to get really extra, ask for some steamed vegan milk foam on top with cinnamon sprinkles.

*Bittersweet chocolate mocha is vegan in US corporate stores. Ingredients used in non-US and licensed stores will vary.

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